BEYOND THE GAME
The Soccer Without Borders program is effective across borders because of its adaptable framework.
While every Soccer Without Borders program has three pillars- Soccer, Education, and Community- we leave space within our program model for local adaptation, responding to the specific needs of a target population and the resources available. We create a team environment defined by consistent leaders, dynamic and relevant activities, and a culture of acceptance.
We provide the equipment, coaching, and transportation needed to help participants of all skill levels pass, dribble, score, sweat, win, lose, learn, and celebrate together in organized practices and games.
We provide academic and language development support, high school and college preparation, as well as workshops on nutrition, wellness, mindfulness, healthy relationships and any other topics that are most important to participants.
We build community at the family, team, local, and global levels, combating social isolation by connecting our participants and programs to resources and learning opportunities across cultures and beyond borders.
DESIGN WITH EVIDENCE
Our program design is underpinned by foundations in research, mapped out by a logic model that outlines the pathway from inputs to impact, and monitored by a program rubric and coaching framework that ensures consistent fidelity to the model. This process and feedback loop allows us to identify where and when the model is being fully implemented, where more resources and training are needed, and how program quality and safety is sustained during periods of growth.
Direct-service programs operate with a range of resources, in different contexts, with different leaders, and face common but distinct challenges. We meet kids where they are, meaning that there are many variables that are beyond our control. What we can control is the quality of the environment we create, the resources we provide, the preparedness of our staff, and the way we engage with the communities whom we serve.
Our North Star(s):
YOUTH-CENTERED | MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS
Our Design Elements, anchored in research, are the lenses through which we view program design, and what guide our everyday decision-making:
The National Alliance for Youth Sports reports that 70% of youth drop out of organized sport by age 13. Our program framework is designed to minimize linguistic, economic, and cultural barriers to participation, reaching youth that too often fall through the cracks with an emphasis on engaging girls. All program activities are free of cost, with the necessary transportation, translation, and equipment provided. The hard work of our direct service staff has led to retention rates of 76% in our most recent year.
The Aspen Institute reports that just one-quarter of children are active at a healthy level, defined as 151+ sports activities per year. SWB programs are a consistent presence throughout the middle and high school years, with 35-46 weeks of program activities each year. With 2-6 events each week, and additional informal time, regular SWB participants develop healthy bodies, minds, and voices. One-quarter of participants have been with SWB for 3 years or more.
According to Playing to Heal, the five most important trauma-sensitive design principles are: Safe Space, Long-Term Engagement, Attachment Focus, Supportive Structure, and Integration with Local Cultural Practices. We prioritize consistent, trained head coaches who commit to a year or more with their teams, and develop leadership pipelines. Currently, our average head coach tenure is more than 3 years and 9 teams have an alum as a coach.
Research shared by Up2Us Sports names Self-Awareness, Positive Identity, Situational Awareness, Plan-B Thinking, Future Focus, Discipline, Social Confidence, and Pro-Social Connections as the 8 "High Impact Attributes" of youth development. We measure these attributes through pre and post program youth surveys, and design our team-based programs to maximize the development of these key youth development skills.